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Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone may have a few scars but it’s certainly not war-torn anymore. In Sierra Leone, wildlife fans can track monkeys, buffalo and rare pygmy hippos while romantic souls can stroll along empty, star-lit beaches.

Foodies will love Sierra Leone’s super-fresh seafood and haggling for local produce in the markets. With some of the best beaches in Africa, beautiful rugged scenery and a tropical climate, Sierra Leone won’t stay off the tourist map for long. Savvy travellers are heading there now.

You can’t miss

Sierra Leone’s dazzling beaches, chattering chimps and funky, ramshackle capital lend this hard-edged chunk of West Africa real sparkle
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Wanderlust recommends

  1. Get to know the capital Freetown; vibrant nightlife in bars overlooking the sea, plus beautiful Creole houses and great views from Hill Station
  2. Flake out on Sierra Leone’s beaches. No 2 Beach on the Freetown Peninsula is idyllic
  3. Visit the fortress on Bunce Island – once used to process over 50,000 slaves on their way to Europe and the Americas
  4. Ooh and aah over the chimps at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary set in a semi-wild rainforest
  5. Walk on the wild side at Tiwai Island where butterflies flitter above your head in the rainforest

Latest Sierra Leone articles

Sierra Leoneans tend to be warm and friendly. Greetings are important so be sure to smile, shake hands and ask after anyone you meet.

English and Krio
6.4 million
Int. dial code
Time zone
220/240 AC 50 Hz
Sierra Leone leone (Le). There are no ATMs (except in ProCredit bank in Freetown) and few places accept credit cards. US dollars are useful for changing money and often accepted in shops.
Sierra Leone travel advice
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Sierra Leoneans often associate white-skinned visitors with international NGOs and UN agencies. Don’t be surprised if you get asked financial help.

When to go

May and June and September and October are the rainy season; downpours are heavy. July and August are the wettest months; roads may be washed-out and some areas inaccessible. November to January is the best time to visit, when the harmattan winds cool temperatures.

International airports

Freetown-Lungi International Airport (FNA), separated from the capital Freetown by the river. Passengers have the choice of hovercraft, ferry, helicopter or Pelican Water Taxi to cross the bay to Freetown.

Getting around

Although Sierra Leone is small travel is slow because the roads are bad. Shared taxis are an extremely cheap way to get around towns, and minibuses, locally known as poda-podas, operate in Freetown.

For remoter areas, a private vehicle and driver are necessary; these should be arranged in Freetown. There are no scheduled internal flights in Sierra Leone.


There are few big hotels; those that do exist are in Freetown. Hotels in Sierra Leone are expensive. Outside the capital, you’ll stay in guesthouses. There are no official campsites but there are ample opportunities for bedding down under a mosquito net or camping in the wilderness.

Food & drink

Along the coast fresh fish and lobster are abundant and delicious. The country’s main food is rice; Sierra Leonians will often tell you they have not eaten if they have not yet had rice. Various sauces are available, and cassava, yam and potato leaf are popular.

The local Star beers and poyo (palm wine) wash it all down.

Health & safety

Medical facilities are poor so come properly prepared. Consult your GP for required jabs and tablets. Malaria is rife. Petty theft is also a problem.

The heat is sweltering so take plenty of water wherever you go (only drink bottled or purified water).